In an article by FG Insight, Associate Director at North Associates Andrew Jamieson points out:
“Almost every farm has something it could be doing.”
Those who seek to diversify their income should look at their farms as a variety of potential assets rather than having just one single purpose. He recommends to focus on forestry and tourism for those deep in the countryside, and for opportunities in development and renewable energy if your land is closer to urban areas.
Forestry as a potential income stream is often ignored by farmers, yet there is a growing demand due to the popularity of biomass heating systems and multi-fuel household stoves.
Government grant schemes for felling and replanting are in place to encourage landowners with woodland to find sustainable profit in forestry.
Diversification via tourism is also currently under grant funding, this time thanks to the Rural Development Programme.
To be able to qualify for this funding the diversification has to be unique to the farm and/or the owners of the business, who have to put together a comprehensive business plan based on market research.
Barns & Traditional Buildings
Converting traditional buildings to repurpose their use is becoming increasingly popular amongst farmers, especially taking into account that the area of most profit when diversifying is sub-letting property for non-farming use.
The buildings being converted must meet the criteria established by the General Permitted Development Order, yet once it does it can acquire a relatively flexible commercial use, such as for example its use storage and distribution space.
Planning & Development
Alternatively, landowners can opt to develop and consequently sell land in order to generate profit.
When opting for this route you have keep in mind there is a meticulous legal process to follow in order to do so, such as obtaining planning permission, factor in tax and keep in mind all legal considerations.
Investing in the production of renewable energy can be as rewarding as it is beneficial. The investment needed is relatively low, making it a very cost-effective option to challenge the surge in energy tariff rates.
Source: FG Insight